… am I inspired? I am working with a catalog, presently, of over 433k images. Can’t find one? Find one? Go looking for something you remembered you took once upon a time? I got a database. Thank goodness!! Do you care? Am I bragging? Impressed?! Computers are so useful!? Or are they the enemy of good? Colleen thinks so. What (does she think)? I have a few followers and many who signed up as followers. I hear from a precious few (occasionally) Ginny, Carol, and my Colleen. My kids? Nope. They forgot long ago. It’s better that way….
Inspiration? Just toss a dart… it triggers memories – Africa, 9/11, Saudi, reunion, sunrise, sunset, Zanzibar, diving, marketplace, black and white… and so much more. It’s like an illustrated memoir (for you). There’s a lot of pictures and a lot of stories. I daresay some pics are better than the stories. But they are mine. It has been an interesting journey through my mind for all these many years. The tip of the iceberg? Oh, the things I could tell you! But what happened in the operating room, stayed there! Would I do it again?
Inspiration? Nowadays, it’s Colleen. Everyone has a muse? Right? I’m left-handed. … on the other hand, there are five fingers. She’s left-handed too! Right? Amazing!
Free to be…
Out in the desert, Jules was free of her abaya – no religious police. Camels in the wild! And, sand dunes! Once you leave the big city, it is pretty remote and desolate terrain. Fun?! Adventure?! I was smart enough to bring along food and water. A good time was had by all. (No camels were injured in the making of this photo op.) So, went an adventure of our lifetime!
For a little while…
Abruptly, it ended – my adventure in Saudi. Colleen was relieved. Very! We reconnected while I was still there. She never got to visit. Saudi law/rules prohibit casual visitors. My daughter was family – ok! Can you say culture shock!? I was lucky. Photo ops! Did I say Colleen was relieved? Can you imagine being trapped there for a couple years during Covid? Colleen worries. She has a vivid imagination! Relief!
Sm, element 62 in the periodic table of elements. Rock, I’ve been under one. I was a chemistry major. I’ve been looking at the periodic table since I was in 9th grade. What? Huh? Where have I been? I just saw it and realize I have no recollection of this element. Use it in a chemical equation. Ha ha! It exists in nature. It is not one of the transitory elements they discovered in the nuclear lab. It sounds like it has Middle East connections. Beware! Meanwhile, you can laugh. In all of this time Pluto was a planet, then not, and now once again is. The statement, “I’m not a camel.” begs the question, “Then why are you telling me this?”
I Save The Day
Visiting Taif. You drive up mountain roads. And it seems the bus was slow. And there is a zoo which was on the list of activities and places to visit. I had a camel encounter. Friendly, I’ve heard they can be temperamental. But the zoo camel was friendly. The elephants sprayed water at you. Fortunately, I watched as a couple nurses were set up and drenched. Those elephants are smart.
The group but their banner across the front of the bus. Nice touch. About 30 minutes later the bus overheated. The driver stopped, pulled his cellphone, and called the hospital for help. No A/C, it was getting hot on the bus! Light bulb! Yeah, you guessed. That darn banner cut off air flow to the engine. We removed it and were on our way in 10 minutes. Saved! Yes, I did save the day on that one. Did I tell you I know a little bit about lots of things…
I was fortunate to be a favorite with the nurses. I’m nice to them. They are nice back. It makes life so much easier. I learned to be nice and polite as an intern. Nurses, otherwise, could make life hell. When I rotated onto my pediatric neurosurgery rotation the night nurses were nice enough to have a going away party for me. They didn’t wake me for the party. They wanted to let me sleep. Imagine that!
In Jeddah the nurses invited me on a field trip. A few husbands… and me – they insisted I ride in the front of the bus. So far this is my only field trip though they threaten to organize another. For sure they have a sense of humor. And they like to live large.
One nurse was ecstatic to ride a camel. “It was something I promised myself before the age of thirty.” My kids rode a camel in the Bronx Zoo when they were small. So far I’m waiting for my first ride…not.
One thing I wanted to see upon arrival was camels. It’s the desert! But it’s the city where I am. Three million people – more – it’s a freakin’ city! Camels are not wandering the streets. When I first visited there was a road outside of town where Bedouins camped and offered up fresh camel milk for sale. Passing drivers would get the product off the hoof and drink it straight away. Healthy? Some cautioned me against it. And, I’m not a fan of warm milk… After that, the powers that be shooed them away and I never came across the sellers again. Out in the country, faraway from the city, out in the desert, my kids and I came upon camels on the hoof.
Yes that spot beneath is not welcoming us. And the camels were hobbled. Though they could not wander far, they were free to graze. Mostly camels are a novel sight enough that local city people crowd around to photograph them when someone brought them around the old city. Think, cows wandering down Fifth Avenue in New York City. Nope. There would be a lot of curiosity. No cows. The law says milk comes in a plastic container pasteurized and homogenized. And cold with a sell by date!
Out For A Walk
I am in the old city and around a corner there are camels being led. Two camels stopped at a barrier and a crowd coalesced immediately. The kids started taking pictures. Smart phones were clicking away. For me, I don’t see camels very often. I guess this crowd doesn’t see many camels either.
The tent is actually a cover. A man was hidden riding with his identity concealed. The two camels marched up and out of sight along a narrow alley. I got distracted by some other subjects headed my way.
To my kids: I bet you don’t remember this.
We didn’t go to the Bronx Zoo too often. But once upon a time we went and the kids took a camel ride. If you think about it (as I am right now), it’s kind of silly. Collectively, J, David and myself don’t remember this at all (I bet – see above). Otherwise somebody should have spoken up when they were here in December. I got the picture; they don’t remember. Who’s old now?
Online the name is spelled Al Wahbah. At the site it’s spelled Al Waba. I surmise it’s phonetic differences. But no matter how you pronounce it there’s not much chance you’ll get good directions. We kept missing turns and ending up on the wrong roads. There were roads that were not on the map. Google earth can’t save you. There were cell towers in the middle of nowhere. And we had a wireless modem. It couldn’t save us. But we persevered throughout a day of solid rain. It was only dry for the two hours we spent at the crater. We debated about telling J. She had left for home a day earlier. Sorry. Wish you were/had been here.
If your timing is right it looks like you’re jumping in the crater itself. Well, that’s what David says.
More camels. We passed many places where the camel crossing sign made a lot of sense. They (camels) were just grazing free and could easily be crossing the roads we drove.
It has rained twice in a year and a half since I’ve been here. It rained twice in ten days that David was here. On his last day going to/from the crater, it rained/poured all day. So the storm clouds we saw over the crater are probably not a common sight.
We missed not having J with us but we somehow managed to still jump for her.
It was still magical when the storm clouds parted long enough to give us a spectacular sunset.
The Trip To Nowhere
David read about a place called Al Wahbah. There’s a crater of uncertain origin that is said to be a great place to visit. It is in the geographical middle of nowhere.
I mean we drove until my calculated ‘drop dead’ time. J was leaving and we had to return in time for her to be at the airport. No crater!! The roads have no signs, signs in Arabic, and no one seems to have heard of Al Wahbah. No amount of stopping for directions helped.
Directions, me, never. But the kids have no qualm about asking. My motto, “As long as you never put the car in reverse, you are never lost.” Well, you make do with what is at hand…. We found a sand dune!? (one not too large one)
There was another side benefit; we had a camel experience. The last time J was here we saw a camel from a distance but never up close. This time we were face to face, nose to nose. Yeah! It was an alternative happy ending. And did I say that we more or less drove right up to the camels.
They aren’t too photogenic. So the color helps. I apologize for the tree sticking out of his head. We had stopped momentarily. You know. …when everyone is running in four directions and the driver will say, “Get back on the bus,” at any moment. So I was standing and just doing a 360 degree click around with my camera. Later we parked again and I had a longer moment to get another shot of another camel. Anyway the color is for the tourists.
“You touched a camel!!” my daughter exclaimed when I shared this photo. We had searched vainly for a camel to photograph when she visited in March. Yes, Julia. I got right up in its face. Actually, the camels, especially this camel, were quite used to people and did not hesitate to come right to the fence and allow me to touch it. This guy has probably been fed by many visitors in the past. I don’t know… but one could guess. No, he wasn’t smelly, and yes, I used a wipe to wash my hands. One of the nurses was carrying one and pressed it into my hand after the shots.
Sign in the Road
And the road signs warn drivers about… something you don’t see in the USA. I have to say that I have braked for moose after I saw the sign in Maine. I never saw a moose on the road in Maine. But there was a moment when I realized that hitting a moose would be like hitting a truck. I got the wise notion while driving in the fog in Maine, that the GPS device gave you good forward idea of the road and its curves ahead. The rub is that if you happen upon a moose at high speed, you will hurt yourself. I slowed down and got cautious. So far no sign of any stray camels. I tend to doubt there are any wild ones about. And like moose, for me, any sighting is worth a photograph.